Archive for September, 2009

Rhinebeck? Rhinebeck?

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

I started reading knitting blogs in early 2004. Since that time, I’ve watched every year as everyone up and disappears to Rhinebeck, and to Maryland Sheep and Wool. Every year, I CAN’T GO because I’ve been a student. Well, this year I’m not so much better off considering I’m still jobless. Should I let that stop me? Who *isn’t* cheered up by wooly, sheepy goodness? Who knows, maybe I’ll run into someone who wants to take me home (preferably to a city) and give me a job in some kind of wool-related capacity. Please? Please?

I think I’ll plan definitively for Maryland, considering it’s in May and I have some time to work things out. Rhinebeck…uhm, I’ve got a month to ponder.

Otherwise, I finished the first bobbin of red today.


After navajo plying, I have approximately 240 yards of sport weight yarn.


I am now beginning the second bobbin, and when I’m finished I should have approximately 500-650 yards.

Have I mentioned yet that I am indescribably pleased with this particular yarn? Because I am.


Monday, September 14th, 2009


I have 8oz. of this silk/merino blend. It’s going to take a while to spin at this weight, but I think it will be worth it. The silk fibers make it easy to spin at a fine gauge; they’re stronger and so the fibers are less likely to separate in the looser spots.


My camera seems to be working better today, but I’m not sure I can trust it yet. Still, it seemed worth it to post a close-up between that and figuring out how to bully Photoshop into doing what I want. Still, it’s hard to photograph the colors in the spun singles. I’ll try to get an accurate picture of the unspun fibers tomorrow.

I think I’m planning to navajo ply the finished singles. I didn’t really have a plan when I bought this fiber (admittedly, during my trip to Threadbear the other week), but as I spin it I’m thinking it would make a nice partial-length sweater. Uhm, once I finish some other projects, that is.

Sunday Handspun

Monday, September 14th, 2009


It kind of impresses me how much fiber turns into yarn when I sit down to it. Between 5.33 oz. of finished wool, my baby goat friend, the book festival downtown, and Rabbit Proof Fence it’s been a good day.

Spoils of War

Saturday, September 12th, 2009


I rode my bike to the farmer’s market this morning on a mission for apples and tomatoes. My backpack protested strongly when I added yellow squash, rainbow peppers, carrots, and basil. I’m amazed I got it all home in complete pieces!!

(I use photoshop to process photos, and their “save for web” option has changed. Now when I process photos, they come out all grainy. Moom, do you have any suggestions?)

Amanda met me at the market, and after riding our  bikes home we hopped in the car and took a trip to Chelsea to visit Spinner’s Flock. I made it out of there pretty clean, with one or two small things. There were a lot of things that I wanted, of course, but I know enough about my current stashing situation that it wasn’t too hard to resist.

I am halfway through my light grey fiber, but between bobbins I decided to finish an 8oz. ball of mohair that has been languishing for several years now. In fact, since around the time this was taken.


It’s hard to spin when you find your wheel in this condition. Once I peeled the frog off the wheel, I manged to convert that orange-y blob in the background of that picture into finished yarn.


My parents were under the ridiculous delusion that they’d bought themselves a hanging plant stand. I know better; it’s an outdoor yarn drying device.


It’s a bit difficult to see, but there are roses and greens in with the pumpkin. I’m still struggling with my camera; it keeps trying to turn everything pink, grainy, and staticy. After digging through a multitude of photos that were somewhere on the scale from unintelligible to somewhat blurry, this was the clearest.

It feels good to be converting fiber mass into yarn mass, which is somewhat more compact. Even better, it’s usually cheaper if you spin it yourself! Hello, next decade of my life in which I’ll be paying student loans and buying wool by the unprocessed fleece.

I’ve biked ~12 miles today, so it’s time for a mid-afternoon snack while shifting piles of crap in an overflowing room the size of a teapot.

Runs in the Family?

Friday, September 11th, 2009


Fran on the beach


Mouse on the porch

Good Looking People

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

“Mouse Courtois declares this Betty Week and plans to celebrate by drinking red wine, wishing she had a tail, and exclaiming ‘Judas Priest!’ or ‘Mein Gott!’ every time something is ridiculous.”


As you may have gathered a few posts ago, my great aunt Betty died last week. I think we’re all still processing the fact that it really happened, but I feel fortunate that I not only feel definitively that it was time, but also that I don’t have to feel sad about it. I miss her terribly, but with all the wonderful memories it’s hard to feel like she’s really gone. She was one of those rare people about whom it seems no one has anything bad to say, which really showed in the celebrations.

I thought I’d done a better job of documenting events, but I realized when I was looking through my photos that I have none of the larger circle. Many people are missing from this collection, but my triumph of the weekend was managing to photo document generational photos* of everyone who managed to attend.



The G2s; Harry, Bubs, and Fran




The G3s; Jan, Grinch (aka Mike, aka Ed), Moom (Anne), Aimée, and Pooh (Anne)




The G4s; Janet, Mouse, Rey, and Robin




Betty’s children and grandchild.




Aimée played the mbira for her mother…




I couldn’t resist a detail shot.




It’s basically a thumb piano set inside a calabash. It has a beautiful sound.




Fran (my grandmoom) and Barbara who lives down the beach.




Aren’t they a pair?




This is Cam with Bill (aka The Grumpy Growler, aka my father). Cam is a good friend of Fran, Barbara, and Betty. She was mad that Betty “won the race”.  :)




This is Paulette who lives down the beach, with a glimpse of Diane on the side.




Not only does Paulette store a jug of wine in her beach hut just in case; her husband is a pie aficionado who makes delicious smoked salmon.




Of course, the Green Guys were all over the party telling everyone that they were Betty’s “favorites” and insisting they were guests of honor.




Squeaky, Pengie and co. were more reserved. They stayed indoors to protect their delicate skin and to hold onto important artifacts.




Finally, the “triplet” cousins. They were all born in the same year, and all had their first children at the same time. The Annes also had their second children at the same time, approximately 2.5 years after the firsts. Oops! Pooh was channeling Froggy in this one…




There we go. This one is blurry due to my camera’s apparent age, but that’s much better.

Like I said, it’s a bunch of good looking people. Moom should have a more comprehensive collection, so watch her for photos over the next few days?


* I think we need to plan a family reunion, so we can get everyone living together on the beach for at least three days. August 2012? Spread the word; let’s make this happen!

Tension Springs

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

I love my spinning wheel, but for a shameful length of time I haven’t touched it. I wish I could say I had a good excuse, but the truth of the matter is rather dull.

When I obtained my wheel about three years ago, the previous owner had used a common rubber band in the place of a tension spring. I managed with that same band for quite along time, until it fell apart as rubber bands inevitably do. I had bought a Spinner’s Maintenance Kit from Spinner’s Choice soon after I bought the wheel, but I managed to lose it between dorm rooms, Ann Arbor, study abroad, and my Kalamazoo Apartment. So, I tried to replace the rubber band with limited success. Part of the tension line had worn out and snapped off.

A few weeks ago I finally sat down to install a tension spring, having finally found my kit, only to find that my wheel looks nothing like the pictures. I hadn’t realized how much the Ashford Traditional had changed since mine was made. It wasn’t hard to figure out the system, and now it’s running fine.


Perhaps I’ll get around to naming the wheel now that it’s functional again…

I’ve been knitting a fair amount as well, but I’m finding myself to be incredibly camera-lazy lately. I’m working on fixing that, but the bottom line is that it’s time for a new camera. I’m feeling intimidated by the prospect of figuring out what kind I want, so I’m open to suggestions. I’m looking for a decent camera that is small enough to carry around. I don’t care about colors, just function.

I’m currently processing Betty Week photos, and will try to post them later today.

Radical Betty

Monday, September 7th, 2009



Betty Nassoiy (1922-2009)


Rat’s Ass

Mein Gott

Judas Priest!

Oh hey!

That’s elegant

Oh shit!